Back to the Point

Our last discussion, When Democracy Dies, sparked a lively discussion. Many people took the opportunity to engage, share their thoughts and take a public stand on their beliefs.

Yet in the end most comments wandered away from the key point of the Discussion. We have a decision point before us regarding how our Association will be governed. Democratically or by a self-selecting leadership team?

For nearly a decade, UUs have not had a say in the selection of the members of our Board of Trustees. None of the currently voting members of the Board were elected. Comments are welcomed regarding people’s comfort or discomfort with having unelected trustees speak in the name of the member congregations that form the Association.

The Fifth Principle Project sponsored Jay’s candidacy by petition in an effort to jump start a movement that gives UUs an opportunity to participate in the selection of our national leadership team. If you believe you deserve a voice in selecting board members via an electoral process, please share your thoughts.

While the Fifth Principle Project is attempting to jump start the use of democracy, our UUA Board is moving in the opposite direction.

You have an opportunity at this year’s General Assembly to express your opinion regarding a UUA Board’s sponsored bylaw proposal that will end the only guaranteed opportunity UUs have in the selection of our national leadership team. The bylaw proposal is designed to lower the current requirement of the Presidential Search Committee to identify two or more candidates to only one or more. If only one candidate is identified, there is no election, no debate of issues, and no opportunity for UUs to votes for their top leader.

The bottom-line question, do you believe in our Fifth Principle?

Code of Conduct

Our last Discussion brought new voices to the conversation on this website. We are grateful that more ideas were exchanged. However, it is apparent that the previous experience of self-moderating participants is no longer true. Please refer to the website’s Code of Conduct. If self-moderation is unsuccessful, pre-approval of comments will be considered.

Join the Fifth Principle Project. It’s free. The Fifth Principle Project is an organic grassroots initiative to gather into community Unitarian Universalists who want to reinvigorate the right of conscience and renew the democratic process in the governing of our denomination.

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Anne Schneider
Anne Schneider
4 months ago

Democracy dies by tiny cuts. Let’s stop the proposed change to only require one nominee. Also let’s reinstate state wide Uu organizations and regional organizations. State wide organizations should have representatives from every congregation if possible and regional ones should have representatives from each state in that region. The UUA board should be elected by the regions with at least one rep from each region. Let’s grow back our democracy. Anne Schneider. Yes

Mimi Gingold
Mimi Gingold
4 months ago
Reply to  Anne Schneider

I agree wholeheartedly with Anne Schneider

Carol Reich
Carol Reich
4 months ago

Amen ANNE, blessed be. Local and participat-tive…I feel many have been rendered old, supremacist scent on their breath. I like open kind church doors, learning always, personal work-no projection self pity from those who have access to votes and voice. All voices matter. Blessings for the brilliant study historical respect and open doors church. POC I know tell me the noise is distracting in UU world. May you all thrive and pat selves on back for tenacity and courage.

Terry Anderson
Terry Anderson
4 months ago

I certainly agree with the value of contested elections and appreciate those who let their names stand for election to most any public body. As other note it gives platform for discussion and learning. However, it may be inflammatory to say that those folks were ‘unelected’. In Canada, we use the term “elected by acclamation” which as I said is not the best, but when you have as much trouble as our local congregation in filling leadership positions, we get used to it. This is likely NOT the case in the UUA.

Mimi Gingold
Mimi Gingold
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry Anderson

Beware of “elected by acclamation” or “ratification” of candidates. These can be effective ways to stymie growth of new and dynamic leadership. Members become rubber stampers. If candidates are hard to get, I fear that may be the result of top down leadership or perpetuation of a leadership clique that has not mentored and invited and included the membership in multiple ways.

Jim
Jim
4 months ago

There are 2 forces that I think work against democracy in UUism: Apathy. From my somewhat limited experience I have the impression that most congregants don’t care at all about what happens outside their congregation and aren’t interested in GA or UUA bureaucracy or elections for the Board of Trustees. Fear. There have been votes at a congregational level that were “democratic” but not really. There was a climate of fear, in public votes, a fear of voting against the groupthink. Fear of being ostracized is powerful; especially around issues of anti-racism. No one in the congregation is racist but… Read more »

A. Anne Holcomb
A. Anne Holcomb
4 months ago

I have been an inactive UU since 2002, when I left the student body of the Meadville-Lombard Theological School after completing 1 year of seminary. I left the school and the church when I witnessed the rudiments of what has most obviously become the UU Undemocratic Movement. I entered Meadville, ironically having been given a full scholarship that honored The Rev.Theodore Parker’s name, at midlife after I had acquired my first Masters Degree in Non-profit Administration. I chose the Community Ministry educational track as I felt called to ministering to persons experiencing homelessness via connecting the church to nonprofit work.… Read more »

Dennis McCarty
Dennis McCarty
4 months ago

Ann, you may remember that you and I worked on a class project together at Meadville Lombard. I was in the Curtis Room (to which we jokingly referred to as the “Dead White Men Room” because all the historic portraits of famous Unitarians on the walls were White) when Sinkford and the MFC made that visit. I always thought you would have been a wonderful asset to Unitarian Universalism, and that in, effectively, “driving you out,” we suffered an irreplaceable loss. And you weren’t the only one. Other promising talent left as well, one I personally knew to become a… Read more »

Dennis McCarty
Dennis McCarty
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

Flagged: This post is off-topic. Please follow the Code of Conduct and post on-topic. I would only add a couple of questions for Jay Kiskel. Mister Kiskel, are you concerned by the parallels between right wing denunciation of Critical Race Theory and what you have said/written about it. How do you differentiate between what you have said/written about CRT and what M.A.G.A. supporters say about it? Or to put it differently, do you have any comment on the following two articles, which give specifics of right-wing condemnation of CRT? https://www.salon.com/2021/06/15/why-the-panic-over-critical-race-theory-is-the-perfect-right-wing-troll/?fbclid=IwAR1P8CXUpf0zcKw8k9TeFxip5318cUqP2uwd-CUf1sSSfdbqIuJtSnOawfo Second, Mister Kiskel, having posted an essay by James Anderson… Read more »

Tom C
Tom C
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

Is it possible to criticize Critical Race Theory and not want to return to the bad old days?

So we don’t believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them?

Dennis McCarty
Dennis McCarty
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

Actually, I DO have something to back the contention that your rhetoric around Critical Race Theory reflect right-wing trollery on that topic. And I posted a link to one article. But you flagged it as being “off topic.”

Dennis McCarty
Dennis McCarty
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

For the record, I only posted it on this page because there were no genuine responses to it on the page that accused CRT of being “Anti-Semitic.” And you had cut off comments on that page completely. So in answer to your question, here some citations you asked for. This one from New York Times Columnist, Charles Blow, on “Demonizing Critical Race Theory.” https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/13/opinion/critical-race-theory.html?searchResultPosition=1 Because not everyone can access the NYTimes, here’s another from Salon. Not as well written, but still relevant. https://www.salon.com/2021/06/15/why-the-panic-over-critical-race-theory-is-the-perfect-right-wing-troll/?fbclid=IwAR1P8CXUpf0zcKw8k9TeFxip5318cUqP2uwd-CUf1sSSfdbqIuJtSnOawfo And finally, by a law professor and his Jewish artist wife: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/critical-race-theory-is-not-anti-semitic I would simply like Mister… Read more »

Dennis McCarty
Dennis McCarty
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

Again, I would be *delighted* to have this conversation on the “Critical Race Theory Is Anti-Semitc” page. But the last time I looked, you had turned off comments–while avoiding my questions about your statements on it.

That’s not free and open discussion. Just saying.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

You must be referring to that piece from Salon? I read that, and no, it does no such thing. Besides, you first have to document what you mean by “our” rhetoric before you can claim that the Salon piece describes it

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

I assume Dennis McCarty is referring to the UUMUAC event/s that Mr. Kiskel has spoken at these past months. From what I understand, he had strong words criticizing “Critical Race Theory”.

Jim
Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

Like the “bad old days” of the last century – like 1999 From Rev. Thandeka’s sermon at GA 1999 (which she was angrily criticized for). https://files.meadville.edu/files/resources/thandeka-why-anti-racism-will-fail-447.pdf I must begin my remarks with a critique of the anti-racist programs described by the “Journey Toward Wholeness Path to Anti-Racism,” the information packet developed by the UUA’s Faith in Action Department for Diversity and Justice. The packet itemizes the steps we need to take to develop an anti-racist UU identity, none of which we’re told, can be skipped if one wishes to become an anti-racist. The first step is to take an anti-racism… Read more »

Dennis McCarty
Dennis McCarty
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

I’m glad you mentioned that lecture, Jim, because as one of Thandeka’s students at the time, I was at that lecture. What this shows is that Thandeka opposed anti-racism work in the UUA 22 years ago, and her opposition hasn’t changed one bit since. Even though the nature of anti-racism techniques have gone through considerable evolution since then. Her answer to racism was that we wouldn’t have racism if White folks could just unload our pain. We spent considerable time on that in class. Her answer to White pain was–better small group ministry. Yep, Covenant Groups. She certainly has a… Read more »

Jim
Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

Bringing things back to the point; would it not be a good idea to engage as many UU’s as possible in discerning what would be the most compassionate approach to anti-racism? Disagreement with method is not disagreement with the goal. Perhaps there is something in what she says about the violation of the first principle in the method – which doesn’t seem to have changed in at least 22 years. Maybe there is some anxiety about what a majority of UU’s would vote for regarding the method they would prefer. And, perhaps, that is why the democratic ideals of the… Read more »

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

From our point of view, that should have been done before the proclamation of 2017.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

She also has a right to her experience, which her opinion is based on and is the heart of that essay. That is what is relevant because it resonates with the experience of so many others. And there was no hint at all that Jim was as you say trying to set her up as the “wisdom of that ages.” Rather, just an alternate and exceedingly legitimate voice.

Tom C
Tom C
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis McCarty

It seems to me that you imply that when you were a seminary student, you were on board with the current UUA anti-racist strategy. When you implemented those strategies into your ministry at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, Indiana, did you find your congregation became more racially diverse? The picture on the front of UUCCI website shows mostly white people. Did something happen to all the POC after you left? And why did the racial justice journey begin in 2014 and not after you became their minister? It seems to me that you are OK with making it harder… Read more »

Arthur Ogawa
Arthur Ogawa
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Thank you, Jim, for bringing Rev. Thandeka’s writing forward. It helps me to understand the conversation in an historical context. Reading her text in the present day, I find that she is pushing back against a number of fallacies. And she lifts up the notion of class as a significant aspect of the system (see Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste, The Origins of Our Disconents). I do not see her critique as being an opposition to anti-racist work, so much as a radical analysis of what I would call systemic oppression. (I prefer this broader term to “racism”, which it includes.) I… Read more »

Lee
Lee
4 months ago

I appreciate this discussion topic. Thank you for raising it. To me, an important related question is: is there anyone who wanted to be on the ballot (for UUA Board, President, etc.) who failed to achieve getting on the ballot? I guess I am most interested in the time period referenced above, “for nearly a decade,” but if you have to go further back than that, I’d like to hear the particulars anyway.

Betty-Jeanne Rueters-Ward
Betty-Jeanne Rueters-Ward
4 months ago

The lively discussion was left with a number of unanswered questions and unacknowledged concerns from delegates. If you would rather that those not appear on particular articles, could you establish a dedicated discussion post for such voter engagement? Thank you in advance.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago

Flagged:This comment has been deemed off-topic. Please do not reply to it.

What are we going to do about the Fifth Principle Project article “The Harm Principle and Wise Discernment” which violates the code of conduct which says there shall be “no labeling of groups without substantiation” by saying, without substantiation, that a certain group of people are motivated by “nothing but a quest for power (and money), disguised in “caring” rhetoric”?

Will
Will
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

And what certain group would that be, in your interpretation?

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Will

Flagged:This comment has been deemed off-topic. Please do not reply to it. How is on-topic for the webmaster to discuss the website’s code of conduct in the initial post but off-topic for me to discuss the website’s code of conduct in response? In any case, Will, the author says the people motivated by “nothing but a question for power (and money)” are those who promote “the Harm Principle,” who “claim to care so much about ‘beloved community'” and who promote a “culture of victimhood.” They include people who responded sympathetically when Christina Rivera said the stress from racism in UUism… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

These comments are not off-topic at all. They are unanswered questions and concerns that can’t be posted or won’t be answered elsewhere.

Dennis McCarty
Dennis McCarty
4 months ago

Flagged: This post if off-topic. Please follow the Code of Conduct and post on-topc.

I also note that you’ve turned off comments on the article, “The Anti-Semitism in Critical Race Theory.” (Which is one reason I repeat a question about that article here.)

The Fifth Principle Project says you advocate free speech and open discussion. Why have you turned off comments on “The Anti-Semitism in Critical Race Theory?” And–to Mr. Kiskel specifically–why are you not addressing questions I’ve posted regarding your statements about Critical Race Theory?

Craig Moro
Craig Moro
4 months ago

GA delegates please note that it’s now possible to vote on some of the matters we have been discussing before GA happens and without the need to attend. One drawback to this decision is that it allows (or encourages) delegates to vote before they have have had any opportunites to hear pro and con discussion. This may have been real intent behind the early voting “option”.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  Craig Moro

There has already been quite a lot of opportunity to hear pro and con discussion as information has been published for some time now and candidates have been actively campaigning. It is one of the ways the UUA assures access beyond attending GA.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Craig Moro

I wish the candidate would respond to the important questions and concerns here. I was hoping to be a more informed vote by engaging in pro and con discussion here. But it seems I’m too late, and such discussion is no longer permitted or it never truly was.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding of course.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Pardon? I’ve not seen any evidence of Mr. Kiskel responding to questions and concerns here. Unless the person writing as “Webmaster” is Mr. Kiskel. In which case, I’m shocked that a candidate for UUA office would be using – or even condoning – the tone I’ve seen “Webmaster” use around this “discussions”.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Not that you’re tone policing, which you clearly are, what tone might that be?

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Just observing what’s coming from this candidate and campaign website. Are you really unaware of and unconcerned about the way you, Mr. Kiskel and Mr. Casper, are speaking to fellow UUs here and elsewhere?

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

I’m sure you’re doing your part in stoking opposition to his candidacy. As to how we are speaking to some of you, we are merely defending ourselves against the persistent accusation and innuendo the comes from the likes of you.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Is Fifth Principle Project’s tone & behavior here what we can expect of candidate Kiskel, if elected?

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

It is certainly reasonable to expect that the candidate will not likely engage in the kind of tone policing you are advancing on this page.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Why in the world would delegates want someone on the board who refuses to respond to those he would purport to lead?

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

It’s a real-time world, Webmaster, in which real-time responses from candidates for anything are not only SOP for any democratic process but also show the kind of integrity UUs expect from would-be board members. This reflects poorly on your candidate.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

I am interested, which is not yours to judge though. Nor yours to blame the UUA for your candidate’s behavior.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

Another sincere question— if the candidate does not intend to engage with delegates at all, what is this site even for, just making proclamations while refusing to substantiate them? That’s not democratic process.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
3 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

I’ve read your book. And, no, you did not substantiate your claims therein. Deeply suspect scholarship.

Webmaster
Webmaster
3 months ago
Reply to  Amy Carol Webb

We’ve read your review. Deeply suspect reading.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
3 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

BTW — do you still not realize that this website is in fact what is given as the contact for your candidate in the election support materials while you insist we should not be seeking response from said candidate? No one’s yet explained how that is supposed to work.

Webmaster
Webmaster
3 months ago
Reply to  Amy Carol Webb

Yes. It has been explained, more than once I think. But you’re ignoring it.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago

While in theory Fifth Principle Project is concerned about any undemocratic action of the UUA, in practice I’ve mostly seen objections to anti-racism stuff. That’s no surprise, I suppose, as Fifth Principle Project says it “was was started in response to the April 2017 decision to declare that the Unitarian Universalism Association (UUA) was based on white supremacy culture.”

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

David, perhaps we’re in agreement that the bulk of Fifth Principle Project’s efforts are against anti-racism efforts of other UUs. For that reason, I think “Fifth Principle Project” is a misleading title; “UUs opposing the idea of a UU “white supremacy culture”” or “UUs opposed to the Commission on Institutional Change report” or something similar I believe would better reflect the group’s interests as reflected in FPP’s own words: FPP says it “was started in response to the April 2017 decision to declare that the Unitarian Universalism Association (UUA) was based on white supremacy culture.” If indeed there are so… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

David, the candidate is obviously – whether intentionally or unintentionally – reiterating talking points of the right-wing campaign trying to banning discussions of systemic racism (past and present) in schools and other spaces.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

The candidate is obviously? This must be what you mean by, what did you say, fair and open discussion? So much for your concern to be more informed voter.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

David wrote, “The association of them or their ideas with the Right, or alt-Right, is simply silly and an ignorant smear.” I don’t know Fifth Principle Project people or their political persuasions, all of the “anti-Critical-Race-Theory” talk is the same that is being used beyond UU. There’s no mistaking it.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

You said guilt, I did not. I’m just pointing out the clear similarities. If you’d rather not those similarities be pointed out, I’d suggest shifting your platform, or at least your rhetoric.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

David, how do you believe we can practice anti-racism in UU – and outside of UU – and work toward racial justice that wouldn’t involve “Critical Race Theory”?

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

I fully agree that we must examine and address not only issues of race but also ethnicity, class, gender, and anymore. There’s nothing about actual critical race theory that opposes or precludes that. I work with anti-racist Jewish leaders of various political persuasions. You may know that UUs have partnered with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Bend the Arc, the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and the Union of Reform Judaism on anti-racism as well a other matters. I appreciate the multitude of perspectives, and the deep commitments both to Jewish identity and to working for racial justice. I read your… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-inquiry/how-a-conservative-activist-invented-the-conflict-over-critical-race-theory

Solid background on where and how “critical race theory” entered discourse. Give it a read.

Tom C
Tom C
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Doubling down on the association fallacy? Anyway, this article indicates conservative activists started targeting CRT as a wedge issue during the pandemic. You can find UU’s discussing CRT before the pandemic. If the timeline from The New Yorker is correct, then you could say the conservative arguments are good because they are UU arguments. And of course, this too would be an association fallacy. Here’s a quote from John McWhorter Young children should not be taught that the American story is mainly (note I write mainly rather than only, but mainly is just as awful here) one of oppression and racism. Not because it’s unpleasant… Read more »

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom C

👍

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Agreed there’s a smear campaign going on – against anti racism efforts. The origin of ifs tactics and rhetoric is known. I don’t know the political affiliations of this organization or its candidate, and am not making organizations. I am, however, raising questions and concerns, which I wish Jay Kiskel would respond to.

I also understand Fifth Principle Project / the Kiskel campaign is now muting or banning participants, in addition to deleting comments or shutting off discussions. What’s that about? Last I saw, words you’ve published here were quoted back to you, and you got upset about it.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago

What “legitimate diversity voices” have been “deplatformed” or “censored?” The diversity of UU voices is the growing in breadth and depth daily.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Amy Carol Webb

I’m a longtime UU World reader, and it seems like the voices featured are more diverse than ever.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Untrue. There’s is no orthodoxy and they made no such statement.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

In the COIC report leadership lays claim to a “theological mandate” in order to establish what they call “liberatory theology” as the official theology of Unitarian Universalism. That is tantamount to an orthodoxy.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

This sounds for the world like “if it doesn’t go my way it’s not democracy.” Please don’t tell me to read your book. I already have. And can’t find evidence of effort to seriously engage a broad range of engaged UUs the world over as the Commission did. Besides, delegates should not have to give the candidate money (buy his book) to get a response to legitimate questions.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

Thank you for clarifying the candidate’s refusal to respond here in the place delegates are instructed to come ask questions. That crucial info.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago

Flagged: This post is off-topic. Content has been deleted.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago

I’m wondering how shutting off comments on about half your discussions here (the most diverse and lively ones) squares with your emphasis on free speech and democratic process. These were turned off when I checked this morning:

When Democracy Dies
The Harm Principle and Wise Discernment
The Anti-Semitism in Critical Race Theory
Break Glass in Emergency

J.C. McLoughlin
J.C. McLoughlin
4 months ago
Reply to  Amy Carol Webb

I must agree with Amy Carol Webb with regard to the redaction of discussion subjects. I learn far more if discussion is free to evolve.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

The Webmaster has stopped those conversations, in effect insulating the site from criticism.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Amy Carol Webb

Seriously? Delegates are being directed to this site, and some are here for the first time trying to get to know the candidate and their organization. But they’re being told they missed the boat and won’t be allowed to comment on posts anymore.

What viewpoints are in fact permitted here? I hear Mr. Kiskel’s and Mr. Casper’s group on Facebook for this organization doesn’t allow dissenting viewpoints either.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Jay Kiskel’s Facebook group is closed and unless you agree with their platform, you are not welcome to join.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

You must be talking with Clowes. The 5PP FB website is a private group of supporters, not unlike every other such group on FB, of which there are thousands. Perhaps you go and tell them all how undemocratic and anti-free speech they are. Probably all of the alt-right.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

I can’t “go and tell” anything to your closed group. I presume you wouldn’t allow me to. The closed nature group has raised curiosity and concern among plenty of other UUs I know.

If your initiative is devoted to democracy and free speech and including dissenting viewpoints, I would hope your online platforms would reflect that.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago

Fifth Principle Project is censoring my speech. So much for championing gadflies, “free speech,” and robust debate in an open and democratic process. At Fifth Principle Project, hose things are only available to some, not to all.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

You’ve had one post removed because you’ve been requested repeatedly to stay on topic. We expected your faux outrage would be your excuse for doing what you’ve done from the beginning, and accuse us of being frauds. You are in danger now of being banned from this site, and won’t that be an occasion for you to wallow in self congratulation.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

You posted about the Code of Conduct. I responded saying it was being selectively enforced. Indeed, the article “The Harm Principle and Wise Discernment” violates the Fifth Principle Project Code of Conduct, claiming that “those who claim to care so much about Beloved Community” are motivated by “nothing but a question for money and power.”
How are those comments off topic?
You are insulating your site from criticism.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Mr. Kiskel and/or Mr. Casper,

Wow. Why are you speaking to fellow UUs in such a tone? I’ve noticed it elsewhere on your site as well. Do you speak that way to UUs in person? Or threaten to ban people from conversation if they disagree with you?

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Greg, indeed. I don’t mean to make everything about me, but Fifth Principle Project called me “racist,” “a troll,” “virtue signaling,” a “liar,” lacking adult comprehension, and others have said I “seem to have mental problems,” “passive aggressive,” and so forth. A minister said I was “perhaps educable.” Fifth Principle Project’s response was that I “started it” when I said: “This gadfly has read several comments saying that Fifth Principle Project is a home of racist and/or transphobic beliefs. It’s challenging for me to give you the benefit of the doubt in response to those accusations because your Facebook group… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Wow! I’d heard that Fifth Principle Project folks could be mean. I know some people who have been similarly attacked as you. And Mr. Kiskel hopes to collaborate with a diverse Board of Trustees and UUA constituents? Will he be using similar language?

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago

In response to the original article’s statement regarding the code of conduct, I must point out that that code of conduct is selectively enforced. But last time I pointed that out, Fifth Principle Project censored me.

Last edited 4 months ago by Tom Clowes
Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

So, as I told you, I read the piece from Salon, and now that from Charles Blow. I scanned the last one. Where in any of those pieces do you find what you call “our rhetoric” about CRT described and why?

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Mr. Kiskel made such comments very clearly in at least one UUMUAC event that he spoke in. It may or may not have been the same speaking engagement in which used a militaristic metaphor for his campaign (against “Critical Race Theory”, among other things), likening it to “being the first Marine on the beach”.

Would Mr. Kiskel please comment? He seems absenst here and uninterested in discussion with delegates or other concerned UUs.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

You were not at that event, and I presume neither was your source. So, your remark is hearsay at best, and prejudiced to boot.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Before quoting Mr. Kiskel I in fact rewatched a recording of the event (which my partner watched live). I can directly quote the comments Mr. Kiskel made that raised concern. There is nothing hearsay or prejudiced about repeating back what Mr. Kiskel himself has said.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

It’s not prejudiced to quote. But it is prejudiced to suggest Jay is an alt-righter.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Not making such a suggestion. You’re putting words in my mouth. But I’m one of many, including delegates trying to decide among candidates for leadership, who are curious and concerned. It would help if Jay Kiskel would directly answer questions about these matters. And before telling me to go pay for your book if we want answers, I’ve read your book, and such instruction from you doesn’t reflect well on your organization or campaign.’

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Yes, you have clearly and repeatedly made such a suggestion. As to you having read our book, I’ll await some evidence of that claim. You haven’t shown any so far.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago

What are comments being deleted on this site? Why are questions for the candidate being left unanswered? As a General Assembly delegate, I am concerned.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

One comment was removed after multiple warnings. Adequate answers to questions have been provided. The complaints come in three forms, one, the answer is ignored and the question repeated, or there is a flurry of follow up questions that move the goalposts, two, it is claimed that the answer does not satisfy the asker, and many if not all the answers are supplied in our book and some just don’t want to do the homework. There are only two of us here to manage this site and one is busy running for office.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

I’ve been waiting weeks for Jay to respond to my question, which is “Jay, Fifth Principle Project “was started in response to the April 2017 decision to declare that the Unitarian Universalism Association (UUA) was based on white supremacy culture.” A recent publication on this site says anti-racist UUs of color and their allies are on “a quest for power (and money), disguised in “caring” rhetoric.” Do you stand by this claim?”

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

You have been told repeatedly that the publication to which you refer does not say what you accuse it of saying. That makes your question invalid. I’m saying this for the last time. Stop perverting what people are actually saying and stay on topic.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Frank, I’ve heard your response to my question, and while I appreciate your response even though I disagree with it, what I’m asking for here is a response from the candidate himself. Jay hasn’t yet responded.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

I was disturbed by that language as well, Tom. As I am by the general rhetoric of this organization and campaign.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Mr. Kiskel and Mr. Casper,

I would rather not have to purchase a book to receive adequate answers from the candidate. That doesn’t seem realistic, fair, or “pro-democracy”. Surely, questions can be answered without requiring payment and/or requiring an extra, self-published book to be read in order to be an informed voter. And surely, the candidate is not too busy running for office to respond to questions and concerns from voters (otherwise, what is he doing?)

And saying some delegates “just don’t want to do the homework” is dismissive and worrisome. Why are voters/delegates being treated that way?

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

We have over 200 people on this site. Most of them are not complaining because most of them do not come out on your site with the constant accusation that we are frauds relative to our values and purposeless. Most do not come out here and attack our character by calling us racist and transphobic. Those doing this are being treated in a manner befitting their behavior, whether they are voters or candidates. These are not people honestly seeking answers to honest questions. They’re laced with the innuendos and accusations. We are not obligated to answer every question out to… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

What in the world? What do you mean, you “have over 200 people on this site”? You have 200 people subscribed to receive your messages, or 200 people that have paid for “membership” to your organization? We have many more General Assembly delegates than that, who are coming here to learn more and hoping their questions and concerns will be heard. I’ve not seen attacks on your organization, so much as reasonable comments and questions which are ignored or criticized by Mr. Kiskel and/or Mr. Casper. Are you aware that the content and comments on this page are becoming an… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

And of course you’re not obligated to answer every question. But it’s disappointing to see that questions raised to the candidate – particularly those that might be difficult to answer – are being ignored, or perhaps deleted.

When I visit the pages on this site that still allow comments, I see a message that says “Would love your thoughts, please comment”. Why does it say this? It doesn’t seem genuine.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

I can’t get over the tone used on this candidate’s website. As I have said, I don’t know what the political persuasions of Mr. Kiskel or his associates are. I’m pointing out the high degree of similarity between Mr. Kiskel’s and Fifth Principle Project’s rhetoric / arguments against “Critical Race Theory”. Here are some of Mr. Kiskel’s comments, which I see have been shared but ignored elsewhere on this site: “’Critical race theory’ is the most illiberal ideology that has come around in a long time.” “Trying to get ‘critical race theory’ and UU values to coexist is not possible.… Read more »

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

I would point out to you that the conservative opponents of CRT don’t give a damn about liberalism or UU values. They are opponents of those as well. Your quotes establish nothing whatever with respect to Kiskel’s view and that of alt-right opponents of CRT.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

I don’t think it’s fair to say “some just don’t want to do the homework.” As I’ve explained, I’d be happy to read your book, and even volunteered to buy you a book in exchange for you sending me your book. However, my moral framework compels me not to spend money in a way unaligned with my values, and it seems like your book may not align with my values. However, you declined my offer, so I can’t read your book. This means that as a GA delegate, I can’t have the benefit of the information in the book to… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago

A fellow delegate sent this to me – after I had already begun reviewing this site and noticing the dynamics described therein.

https://revdennismccarty.com/the-truth-about-critical-race-theory/

Tom C
Tom C
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

The argument presented by Dennis McCarty is an association fallacy. He has neglected to respond to this criticism.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom C

Well, Mr. Kiskel has neglected to respond to questions and criticisms here. Which is unfortunate.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Why would Mr. Kiskel be obligated to respond to the kind of associational fallacy’s you’ve so far seem to advance and support? It’s a testimony to his integrity that he doesn’t.

Jim
Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom C

Let’s have a little wikipedia review, shall we: Guilt by association can sometimes also be a type of ad hominem fallacy, if the argument attacks a person because of the similarity between the views of someone making an argument and other proponents of the argument.This form of the argument is as follows:Group A makes a particular claim.Group B, which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient, makes the same claim as Group A.Therefore, Group A is viewed by the recipient of the claim as associated with Group B, and inherits how negatively viewed it is.An example of this fallacy would… Read more »

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

I’ve read their book. It seemed, to use Mr. Kiskel’s words criticizing the UUA Commission on Institutional Change – like “suspect scholarship”.

Lee
Lee
4 months ago

If the UUA Nominating Committee had been forced to choose two candidates for each open Board seat, how would that have helped democracy? Would that have gotten Jay on the ballot against Sam Trumbore … or would the Nominating Committee have instead selected two people with similar campaign positions? So long as Jay can get on the ballot, that spells democracy to me. Asking the Nominating Committee to set up these competitions of ideas — that’s not what I’d be advocating for.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago

Let me adjust my question to Jay so no one could accuse me of making any unfair assumptions:
Jay, Fifth Principle Project “was started in response to the April 2017 decision to declare that the Unitarian Universalism Association (UUA) was based on white supremacy culture.” A recent publication on this site says the people who “claim to care so much about beloved community” are on “a quest for power (and money), disguised in “caring” rhetoric.” Do you stand by this claim?
I hope I get an answer from Jay.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Wow. Those words. Those sentiments. Yes, I hope we hear from him.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

No. The document doesn’t say that either. You can’t seem to help your willful misrepresentation of what others say.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

It doesn’t? Here’s the direct quote: “If white supremacy within UUism has reached such an extent that it is destroying the lives and damaging the heart muscles of people of color then it is an emergency that must and should take priority over all other principles. If it is not, then those promoting the Harm Principle are causing real and devastating harm to the “beloved community” they claim to care so much about. The intensive promotion of the “Harm Principle” within UUism, and the move to give it the highest priority – above all the other Principles – is a… Read more »

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Your quote completely reveals your willful and complete misquotation. This is simply unacceptable anymore. In a short time, you will be suspended from this site.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

How is my quote, which I copied and pasted from your website, a misquotation?

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

Tom is right. I don’t understand why this is being argued. Webmaster, you published this.

04701842-7DEA-4F4C-8720-561D0AF20A62.jpeg
Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

So, “willful precision of material” or “willful and complete misquotation” or “unacceptable behavior” it is not. Kiskel/Casper can you imagine how your comments to fellow UUs during your campaign are off putting?

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

The description of Toms behavior may be off putting, but it is also factual. He persistently perverts the content of the document he’s obsessed with in order to ask an illegitimate question of Jay. That’s immoral. We’re not going to tolerate it.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Amazing to see “webmaster” say the words in print before our very eyes are not words in print before our very eyes. Such blatant gaslighting doesn’t bode well for the candidate at all.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Amy Carol Webb

Another accusation, and as usual unsupported.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

You’ve lost me. The commenter quoted back words that we can find right here – I literally included a screenshot. Is there something I’m missing?

The question of whether and how Jay Kiskel stands by the sentiments he publishes is reasonable and important to ask.

Amy Carol Webb
Amy Carol Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

Doubling down on the deflection and gaslighting bodes so poorly for the candidate.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Amy Carol Webb

If you post an article on your campaign website, you’re sending a message that you are in alignment with the content. And it’s perfectly reasonable to expect answers to questions about that. If you’re not willing to speak about something you publish – particularly to delegates who are considering whom to vote for – why publish it? It reminds me of folks here asking questions and them being told to pay for a book that may or may not have the answers.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Even while we have published some campaign materials on our website, the site was not established for the campaign. It was established long before that. And we have addressed the essay in question, time and again, particularly in reply to the person who has made it his obsession to pervert. You may not like or you might want to ignore the answers, as Clowes has, but that is your choice and your problem.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

No matter how or why your site was founded, and it looks like it wasn’t long ago, this is a campaign site and this is a candidate’s brand. You have chosen to publish pieces since the start of your campaign, but then distance yourself from them. Why?

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

What you think about this site is completely irrelevant. What we distance ourselves from is the willful perversion of one post here. But now we’re into “pieces.” How conveniently the goalposts move.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Jay Kiskel, if elected to the UUA Board of Trustees, would you speak to UU constituents the way you do on this website?

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago

In response to my criticism of Fifth Principle Project – in particular, accurately quoting racially charged statements from this website – I was bullied, gaslighted, and temporarily banned from the website. I fully expect to be bullied and banned again. Before that happens, I’d like to contrast the response I received when quoting racially charged statements from Fifth Principle Project to their response to an accusation made on their site that a minister, presumably a queer woman of color, was anti-White and anti-straight. The accusation offered little evidence, drawing questions about whether it was a fair charge even from Fifth… Read more »

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Clearly, a temporary ban didn’t work. You come back here and your first post makes more accusations without a shred of support. While some here may not agree with our response, we can no longer tolerate your continued dishonorable behavior here.

Greg
Greg
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Thanks, Tom, for holding up a mirror to what’s going on here. Delegates and other UUs deserve to know more about this organization. Your points make sense to me and have given me lots to think about.

I wish Jay Kiskel would respond to the questions posted on his website. Or perhaps he is writing as Webmaster, and those are his responses? Not sure. Jay Kiskel, we hope to hear from you.

Webmaster
Webmaster
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Jay will not be responding to unsupported accusations, no matter how much sense they make to you.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
4 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

I’m not making things up; if you need to see the evidence, I’ve attached a screenshot of the accusation.
Will you be taking action against the person making this accusation, or just continue to take action against me?

accusation screen shot.png
Suzanne
Suzanne
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

This is one of those situations that happen frequently in a church Ministers can make snap judgments and be unkind. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with gender, race or sexuality. We aren’t the best people we can be.

Webmaster
Webmaster
3 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

No. This is a function of someone doing what he has been doing since he arrived here, cruising the content for something he can pervert or exaggerate in order to continually smear the 5PP with charges of racism and fraud. The truth is it says much much more about Clowes than it does about anything else. Oh dear, I might have run afoul of Greg’s tone policing again.

Greg
Greg
3 months ago
Reply to  Webmaster

Not “tone policing”, Jay Kiskel. I’m just pointing it out. Consider how your comments might come off to fellow UUs, especially those you hope to work with on the UUA Board.

Megan Visser
Megan Visser
3 months ago

Wondering if the Code of Conduct is only applying to topics the webmaster and friends don’t want to come up and facts don’t like or that disrupt their agenda (e.g., historical facts)? What’s so threatening to the dialogue about seeking to really understand what 5PP is about by asking questions and caring for other people when they get hurt?

Alex
Alex
3 months ago
Reply to  WebMaster

Tom doesn’t look like a troll to me; he is asking legitimate questions and it sounds from his comments above that he has been attacked and name-called by 5PP members. He, on the other hand, has asked reasonable questions and has done so without any ugly behavior as far as I’ve seen in his comments on this post. Censoring him really doesn’t seem to align with the stated values of the Fifth Principle Project.

Deborah C. Donovan
Deborah C. Donovan
3 months ago

Where can I go now? I am so disappointed by the Trump Left authoritarian direction by the church- my “minister” is now like a 7th grade civics teacher and the politics is unsophisticated and divisive.I don’t go to church for thoughtless political ideology. Are they any churches left that combine free will and responsibility with liberal not stupid radical beliefs? I wouldn’t have my memorial service or any rite of passage in this increasingly dumb place- and I have been a member for 48 years. I like the congregants but not my minister or Boston. I have reduced my financial… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
3 months ago

How unfortunate. The minister probably thinks they are helping the congregation understand what is going on and bringing about a better world. No joy in that. At least they are capable of using the language of a 7th grader.

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